Help! 6th Grade Music Appreciation Class
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Tagged: 6th grade, help, music appreciation
- This topic has 5 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 8 months ago by nafmeadmin.
September 3, 2012 at 6:20 pm #11818
I really need help. I’m a first year teacher hired as a HS band director. My contract was extended and now I have to teach a 6th grade music class at the MS, and I am so lost. I start teaching it tomorrow and I have next to nothing developed curriculum-wise. I love MS students, so no problem there. I just have no idea what to do or where to start, and I still have all of my other HS Band stuff to do. I’m quite literally freaking out. I want it to be a music appreciation class (because we don’t have the money to make it into a world drumming class like I actually want…), but all the syllabi I find online end up making the music “appreciation” class into a music theory or history class, which I don’t agree with. I want students to be aware of what they’re listening to and talk about world music in some way. I don’t want this class to be a chore for my students (OR myself)- I want them to learn something that impacts how they view their musical world.
Please, what can I do? I’ve asked a couple people already for help already, but I’m still at a loss. The class meets everyday for 45 minutes and is only 9-10 weeks long (so only a quarter).
~SarahSeptember 5, 2012 at 10:43 am #11855
I teach up to 5th grade, but you could probably apply to 6th grade also. Garageband is a HUGE plus to this age level. Many of them have access to this type of software anyway so you’d be guiding their use to music goals! Loops are quick and easy, but you can have them record their own loops too. I use a lot of youtube videos. The Piano Guys are amazing musicians and the kids LOVE them. The Pete Box is another one great for older kids and shows how the digital world is affecting the music world. I think its important to connect their daily lives to music.September 9, 2012 at 11:06 am #11927
But do they have access to computers in your music room? Any text books? If not, you are kind of walking in the lion’s den I agree. You should really seek out someone in your district and let them mentor you. Where are you? Figuring out what to do on line is really difficult if you have no training. But , with 27 years experience in teaching general music I can give you some brief starters.
1. First of all relax. Take stock of who you are. You are the authority figure so make sure you look like one in how you dress. And, this can be fun. Once you get these kids on a hook they will be bombarding you with ideas of what to discuss next.
2. How about going back to basic elements and focus on how to listen to music critically. Start with a tune they know-but make sure its clean. HOw does the melody move-what is melody- is it moving in steps, skips, leaps. Is there harmony, what is harmony? Is it easy to hear or it does it make your teeth rattle? Form?, Texture? etc….
3. You could do an entire term just on world music for example. How about going back to the Olympics. Who was the fastest runner in the 100 meter? And just where is he from? Jamaica . there-you have just opened the door to reggae. I havent met anyone yet who cant respond positively to reggae. and of course the magic of Bob Marley. If you play some guitar or ukelele-bring one in and teach them the chords to 3 Little Birds. You will have eating our of your hand in no time. Better yet if you let one of them bring in their guitar or whatever and demo for the class something they are learning.
4. Once they see you like or at least tolerate something “cool” they will trust you to take them wherever-Bach, Brahms….. as long as you can catch the drifters with some of “their” music again.
good luck and i really hope this helps.September 17, 2012 at 6:31 pm #12374
If it were me in your situation, I would probably riff off the idea of a world music class as mentioned. You could focus on the music of one country/region/or style for a week or two, and incorporate lots of musical elements into that focus. You could listen to different styles, read about and discuss famous composers from that country, find some YouTube videos to watch dancing or ceremonies from the culture that incorporate music, read rhythms from the particular style and practice drumming or clapping them, learn a folk dance or circle dance, sing some simple songs in harmony that fit with the culture, etc…(as much as some 6th graders act too cool, they can really get into movement activities if presented the right way). Find ways to incorporate holidays or cultural celebrations in your area too…if it were me, I would probably study the music of Mexico during October so I could talk about Dia de los Muertos and teach La Danza de los Viejitos, celtic music in March when they are thinking about St. Patrick’s Day and maybe do some step dancing, China in February when Chinese New Year is taking place. You could study classical British music through Britten and Holst, then move into rock and The Beatles. I love the idea about pulling in references to the Olympics as well, since this is fresh in students’ minds this year.
Things like reggae and Bob Marley, listening to the Soweto gospel choir and learning some similar harmonies, making taiko drums out of buckets and packing tape or djembes out of oatmeal containers…there’s a lot you could do here! I kind of want to start a class like this now…..
I agree with you that just teaching a theory or history class and lecturing at this age group won’t work well. But if you mix things up, some theory and singing one day, some listening and discussing the next, some drumming and dancing the next day, you will be able to teach these important elements without boring your students. Plus if you connect the theory to the song they are listening to/singing/etc, everything has meaning and purpose and it’s not just memorizing facts in their minds.
Have fun!September 17, 2012 at 6:34 pm #12375
An afterthought – if you ended up doing something World Music related, I bet you could have a lot of fun finding workshops or cultural events to attend to get some ideas if your district is able to provide some funding for professional development (which they should since they are asking you to create a new section!). Look for some World Music Drumming, Orff multicultural focused classes, or local festivals at community college, universities, or cultural centers.September 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm #12382
Hi, I am in the same boat as you. I asked my district to purchase the curriculum from McGraw Hill, Share the Music. It’s great. It has fully developed
lesson plans organized by state standards and framework and it has cd’s that you can order that have everything you need to accomplish the goals set forth in the curriculum. It includes singing, playing recorders, small percussion and Orf instruments. Well worth the expense. Best of Luck.
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